A FIVE-MONTH campaign led by residents and councillors from across the political spectrum has paid off after Thames Valley Police finally confirmed it will no longer close down a city base.

Yesterday the force announced that a ‘mutually beneficial’ agreement had been made with Oxford City Council to keep the Marston and Northway police office open.

Pete West, who spearheaded the fight to keep it open, said: “It seemed like [the office] was a goner – and if it hadn’t been for us, it probably would have been.

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“Basically, they have set up a precedent for neighbourhood policing.”

It is understood that Thames Valley Police rents the hub from the council for £17,000 a year – dubbed a ‘tiny amount’ to ensure the safety of residents.

The Oxford Times:

Pete West, who helped lead the fight to save the police office.

Labour councillor for Headington Hill and Northway Nigel Chapman said: “As one of the ward councillors who campaigned to prevent the closure of this office, I’m delighted that we have succeeded.

“I’m grateful both to the city council as the landlords and to Thames Valley Police for their flexibility in finding an affordable solution.

“I know residents value the local police presence and will be very pleased to see it continue.”

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The plan to permanently close the base, which first opened in 2010, only came to light in October after locals contacted the Oxford Mail to say the shutters had been down for weeks.

When the paper contacted Thames Valley Police, the force revealed it planned to close the unit on Westlands Drive indefinitely in May, but said the base would remain in use until then.

The Oxford Times:

This sparked a lengthy battle between the force and campaigners – who penned a letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief constable urging the force to reverse its decision.

Joe McManners, city councillor for Headington Hill and Northway, was one of nearly 30 who signed the letter.

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He said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to work together as a city council and police service to protect this much-needed facility. I think it is a great example of local people, NAG and councillors coming together for the community. Residents I know will be very reassured by the ongoing police presence.”

Liberal Democrat city councillor Altaf Khan agreed: “I am very pleased that the PCC confirmed the office was staying open.”

The police had previously said that ‘bricks and mortar have little to do with policing’ but following the decision to save the unit, the force said in its statement that the renewed lease ‘recognises the value of a continued police presence’.